Impact of Economic Opportunities on Teen Birth Rates and Crime
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In this paper I study whether growth in womens’ wages has led to a lowering of teen birth rates. Starting in the early 1990s, there has been employment and wage growth in both the low education and high education sectors, especially of women. I find that during this time teen birth rates decline in response to higher wages of women. The treatment group consists of women that lived in counties that experienced increases in womens’ wages. The comparison group consists of counties that did not experience growth in womens’ wages to the same extent due to the different composition of industries that grew at this time. I use an instrumental variable analysis to instrument for wage increases in the relevant counties. The instrumental variable analysis is then extended to analyze the NLSY79 and NLSY79 Young adults data. I estimate the probability that a young woman has a child given that she lives in a county that experiences higher growth of womens’ wages. This research attempts to unravel the cause of at least some portion of the unexplained decline in teen birth rates that has continued to occur in the 1990s and 2000s in the US.